Segments in this Video

A New Way of Learning (03:49)


El Salvador's public schools emphasize test-driven curriculum and classroom centered teaching techniques. Professor Bob Gliner, suggests making community issues a subject for the students to study during school hours— providing motivation and problem solving.

Students Investigate Community Problems (03:06)

Students are asked to identify issues by asking parents and neighbors, and then each class makes a list and prioritizes the top problems. Students suggest paving streets to get rid of potholes. Students make their own presentations.

Decision Making Forum (03:02)

Students choose to address the sewer water problem, the need for a footbridge, and overcrowded classrooms. They use math skills to figure out the volume of the traffic passing in front of the school and plan to purchase a plot of land next to the school.

Mapping Strategic Plans (03:30)

Students receive instructions on how to proceed with problem solving. Students compose letters to local representatives detailing the issues and proposing solutions. Designs are drawn for a footbridge even before approval, to show adults how serious the students are about their community.

Obsolete Computers (02:20)

Instructor Mr. Palacios explains that the school's computers, hardware, and software are outdated. Multiple students have to gather around one computer. New computers are needed to be proficient in the classroom.

Accident Victim Shares Story (03:52)

Mario Misael Zelada was run over by a car while walking to school and suffered multiple injuries. Students perform a skit reenacting the collision showing the desperate need for something to be done at the crosswalk in front of the school.

Students Generate Revenue (04:02)

The students put their values into practice by collecting plastic bottles from their neighborhoods. This brings in money and gives neighbors the opportunity to share their thoughts on the program. The recycling center works with the students to pick up recyclables on school grounds.

Sewer Overflowing (02:12)

The sewer erupts every year during the rainy season. Student letters are handed over to Vice Governor Yessica Valdez who pledges to take steps to negotiate with institutions that deal with the problems students want solved.

Footbridge Over Pan American Highway (01:49)

Mario Lopez, Representative of the Ministry of Public Works, is working out an agreement for approval to construct the footbridge. The new plans are sent to the mayor's office. Students become an active part of the solutions that affect El Salvador's communities.

Credit: Communities as Classrooms (00:46)

Credit: Communities as Classrooms

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Communities as Classrooms

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $389.85
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



This program follows producer Bob Gliner as he introduces an educational experiment in participatory democracy at four schools in El Salvador that can serve as a model here in the U.S. --- where viewers see students become actively engaged in solving problems in their own communities, not as an extra-curricular activity, but as part of learning math, language, writing and other basic educational skills - skills they see as necessary to solving the issues their communities face.

Length: 29 minutes

Item#: BVL118585

ISBN: 978-1-63521-510-6

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.